Learn About Promotions Within the Army


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Members in the Army, have a relatively fast advancement rate compared to other services in similar jobs - Military Occupational Specialties (MOS). Typical advancement depends on many elements: prior service education/experience, pre-military training, performance within the Army or training schools, and time in service.

Prior to joining the military, individuals enlisting in the Army can receive advanced promotion at the time of contracting into the service.  Usually, pre-enlistment advancement will allow up to the rank of Specialist (E-4), for such things as college credits, JROTC in high school, Eagle Scout, Civil Air Patrol, and other pre-military programs like Sea Cadets and Young Marines.

Private to Specialist 

Army Enlisted Promotions to E-2 through E-4 are based on a combination of time-in-service and time-in-grade and performance in Basic Training.

Corporal and Sergeant: 

Soldiers are promoted to E-5 and E-6, based on a combination of promotion points, time in rank, and results of a local promotion board.

Staff Sergeant, First Sergeant, Sergeant Major:

Soldier' s promotions to the grades of E-7 through E-9 are made by a centralized (Army-wide) promotion board. On average, the Army has the fastest enlisted promotion rates of any of the other branches. However, actual promotion rates depend on your Army job. It's a lot easier to get promoted in a job in which the Army is experiencing a significant shortage of manpower than in a job that doesn't have a shortage. Additionally, it's often almost impossible to get promoted if you are in a job that is significantly overmanned unless you are willing to volunteer to re-train into an undermanned MOS for your year group.

Enlisted Soldiers who meet certain prerequisites can also apply to be promoted to Warrant Officer.

The Army ranks are also broken down into three groups

Junior Enlisted Ranks (E-1 through E-4)
Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Ranks (E-4 through E-6)
Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Ranks (E-7 through E-9)
Sergeant Major of the Army (E-9S)

For most people, the job opportunities and post Army career training transition into the civilian job market as well as quality of life are considerable characteristics of a recruit in selecting a military MOS. Your MOS can determine where you will live and train, how you will deploy, how quickly you advance and earn more money, and how marketable you will be when you decide to leave the military.  Take MOS selection seriously.